Unbeaten Iowa suffered the biggest loss as one of six AP Top 25 teams to be upset during college football’s 9th week of competition. The others were Oregon, Penn State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and California.
The 8th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes (now 9-1) had their 13-game winning streak-second longest in the nation-come to a crashing halt at home after losing their quarterback Ricky Stanzi to a second-quarter ankle injury as an upstart Northwestern team ground out a methodical 17-10 upset victory.
Iowa had been making a career out of launching comebacks and winning close 7M all season; it seemed only a matter of time before they would get found out. Who knew it would be Northwestern to get the job done? For the 6-4 Wildcats, the win over a Top-10 opponent was their first since knocking off No. 6 Ohio State 33-27 in overtime five years ago, and their victory over Iowa made them bowl eligible this season.
Northwestern led 14-10 at the half and added a 4th-quarter field goal as the Iowa offense never did get going after losing Stanzi. The Hawkeyes, who had climbed as high as 7th in the AP Top 25 Poll, slipped to 13th.
No. 7-ranked Oregon’s 47-20 upset win over 4th-ranked Southern California last week that vaulted the Ducks (now 7-2) into the national title picture, was short lived as they were upset at home 51-42 by the Stanford Cardinal (6-3), who became bowl eligible in the Pac 10 contest. Despite the upset win, Stanford could not climb into the AP Top 25, and Oregon slipped to 16th.
Oregon lost because it ran into a runaway diesel locomotive named Tony Gerhart, Stanford’s senior running back who rushed for a school-record 223 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. Gerhart is a battering ram about to happen; he can run through tacklers.
No. 11-ranked Penn State (8-2), a 5-point favorite at home, was upset 24-7 by 15-ranked Ohio State, putting the Buckeyes into a first-place tie with Iowa at 5-1 in the Big Ten Conference race.
No. 19 Notre Dame (6-3) was upset at home 23-21 by 41st-ranked Navy (7-3). Navy led 21-7 after 3 quarters, and two 4th quarter touchdowns by the Fighting Irish was not enough to overcome the loss against the Midshipmen.
No. 20 Oklahoma (5-4) suffered a humbling 10-3 upset loss at the hands of the 35th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-3), who became bowl eligible. The Sooners have had a tremendous fall from the top this year, losing also to Brigham Young, Miami (FL) and Texas. There is trouble in Soonerland.
No. 23 California (6-3) was favored at home but done in 31-14 by the Oregon State Beavers (6-3), who became bowl eligible in the process. California never fails to disappoint; the Bears, who are always predicted to be better than they are, continually lose at the wrong time, many times to the wrong team.
Eight other ranked teams continued to move on by winning games on-the-road.
No. 5 Boise State (9-0) remained unbeaten by winning 45-35 over 96th-ranked Louisiana Tech (3-6). No. 6 Texas Christian (9-0) also remained unbeaten by scoring at least two touchdowns in 3 of 4 quarters in a 55-12 drubbing of 95th-ranked San Diego State (4-5). No. 12-ranked Southern California (7-2) won 14-9 in a close contest with 53rd-ranked Arizona State (4-5).
No. 13-ranked Houston (8-1) managed to win a close 46-45 victory over 92nd-ranked Tulsa (4-5). The Houston Cougars have the 2nd best major college scoring offense in the country (41ppg), but have absolutely no defense, allowing opponents like Tulsa to run up big scores and make games close. No. 18-ranked Oklahoma State (7-2) won 34-8 over 73rd-ranked Iowa State (5-5).
No. 22-ranked Virginia Tech (6-3) won 16-3 over 67th-ranked East Carolina (5-4) to become bowl eligible. No. 24-ranked Wisconsin (7-2) won on a field goal 31-28 over 91st-ranked Indiana (4-6). No. 25-ranked Brigham Young (7-2) notched a 52-0 shut out over 108th-ranked Wyoming (4-5).
Nine other ranked teams kept moving on by winning home games. They included:
No. 1 Florida (9-0) remained unbeaten as the Gators took care of business with a 27-3 victory over 119th-ranked Vanderbilt (2-8). No. 2 Texas (9-0) also remained unbeaten with a dominating 35-3 victory over 83rd-ranked Central Florida (5-4).
No. 3 Alabama remained 1 of only 6 unbeaten teams with a 24-15 signature win over No. 9-ranked LSU (7-2). A 73-yard touchdown reception-and-run by sophomore receiver Julio Jones in the 4th quarter didn’t hurt a lick. Alabama is now 9-0 for a second consecutive season, which hasn’t happened since the glory teams of 1973 and 1974.
The victory for Alabama, which was favored by 7.5 points, was huge in that the Crimson Tide continues on a crash course with No. 1-ranked Florida (9-0) for the SEC Championship and a spot in the National Championship Game, probably against Texas (9-0) if the Longhorns remain unbeaten.
No. 4 Cincinnati (9-0) remained undefeated with a narrow 47-45 win over 52nd-ranked Connecticut (4-5). The Huskies scored 3 touchdowns in a 4th-quarter comeback try but it was not enough. No. 10 Georgia Tech (9-1) needed a 30-27 overtime victory to turn back 55th-ranked Wake Forest (4-6). No. 14 Pittsburgh (8-1) scored in every quarter to win 37-10 over 93rd-ranked Syracuse (3-6).
No. 16 Miami of Florida (7-2) scored at least two touchdowns in 3 of 4 quarters to win 52-17 over 65th-ranked Virginia (3-6). No 17 Utah (8-1) won 45-14 over 164th-ranked and winless New Mexico (0-9). No. 21 Arizona (6-2) became bowl eligible with its 48-7 stomping of 115th-ranked Washington State (1-8). The Wildcats led 34-zip at the half, and went though the motions in the second half rather than playing harder and winning even bigger.
Eight more unranked teams became bowl eligible this week. They included Mississippi, Clemson, Air Force, Fresno State, Northern Illinois, Kansas State, Middle Tennessee and North Carolina.
Mississippi (6-3) won 38-14 over 109th-ranked, 1-AA Northern Arizona (5-4). Clemson (6-3) won 40-24 over 39th-ranked Florida State (4-5), hastening an end to Bobby Bowden’s storied career with the Seminoles. If Bowden doesn’t bow out this year, they may kick him out. Air Force (6-4) put a 35-7 stomping on 144th-ranked Army (3-6). Fresno State (6-3) won 31-21 over Idaho (7-3). A 14-point surge in the last quarter was not enough for the Vandals to pull out another victory.
Northern Illinois (6-3) put a 50-6 beating on 179th-ranked and winless Eastern Michigan (0-9). Kansas State won 17-10 over in-state rival Kansas (5-4). Middle Tennessee (6-3) came up with a 48-21 win over 138th-ranked Florida International (2-7). North Carolina (6-3) won 19-6 over 69th-ranked Duke (5-4).
Four other teams were worth noting. Temple (7-2) won its 7th consecutive game 34-32 over Miami of Ohio (1-9). Troy (7-2) won 40-20 over 182nd-ranked and winless Western Kentucky (0-9). Western Kentucky is the worst major college team this year; the Hilltoppers (now Bottom Droppers) are so bad you can smell them in Idaho.
Auburn (7-3) scored a blowout 63-31 win over poor, 168th-ranked, 1-AA Furman (4-5) to climb into the AP Poll at No. 25. Southern Methodist (5-4 and ranked 80th) climbed over the.500 mark with a close 31-28 home victory over 165th-ranked and winless Rice (0-9).